Smoking Popes, Bayside

After a seven-year hiatus, Chicago's Smoking Popes reunited and recorded the live album At Metro in November 2005. A gloriously loud and unsurprisingly sloppy reunion in front of an inebriated and rowdy lot of Midwesterners, the show featured most of the band's best tunes, highlighting their unique fusion of punk and lounge. In the '90s, the delicate tenor of singer Josh Caterer and his emotionally charged and highly personal lyrics were lost amongst the post-Nirvana wave of grunge and metal, so after a trio of solid efforts, Smoking Popes packed it in after the prophetically titled Destination Failure in 1997. Forefathers to many emo bands currently infesting the punk genre, the Popes are better and more complicated than any number of the bands they influenced. Their return could not come at a more fortuitous time.